“Clay is my means of expression. I have made things out of clay since I was 7 years of age.” - Wayne Ferguson
Ceramic artist Wayne Ferguson is largely self-taught, holding no formal degree, but a teacher nonetheless, having earned a substantial reputation from a lifetime of experience: “One thing led to another and through a series of fortunate events I became a teacher, involved in artist residencies throughout Kentucky and other parts of the world. I travelled to Mexico and worked with the amazing potters in Mata Ortiz. I was hired on at the Arizona State Museum as an archaeology technician, digging ditches and sifting dirt, on several projects in the Tucson Basin. I would dig clay and fire replica pottery in the courtyard in the Barrio Viejo.”
In recent years, his work has offered satirical political commentary unabashedly liberal in its perspective. Somewhat unusually for a ceramic artist, he belongs among the ranks of current political cartoonists. Ferguson’s targets are historical, local and national.
“May Day...Rolling Thunder Burning B 52” (whistle lid) and “Phantom” (whistle lid) bring memories of horrific incongruously to the form of the teapot, normally a serene and peaceful vessel.
His “Ark Encounter,” meant to mimic an iPhone in referencing the ancient clay tablets of Egypt, and the adorable “Arkasaurus Ocarinas,” both comment on the controversial Ark Encounter theme park in Northeastern Kentucky, which, among other claims, maintains that Noah saved the dinosaurs from the flood.
The reference is unmistakable in the “Turtle Mitch Bourbon Bottle Set,” depicting Kentucky’s most famous current political figure, and Ferguson is in the process of creating an ongoing series of “Trump Shot Glasses,” stating, “I plan on making one for each day he is in office...I pray that I don't have to make more than 365 of these!”
Ferguson has a show scheduled for March 2018 at the Ohr - O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was a Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Fellow, and his work can be found in these Permanent Collections:
The Kamm Tea Pot Collection
Reverend Al Shands Collection
Berea College Collection
Wayne Ferguson will be participating in the 2017 Open Studio Weekend, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute. His studio, located in the Mellwood Art & Entertainment Center, will be open the weekend of November 4 and 5. Tickets for Open Studio Weekend will go on sale October 16. Click here for more information.
Hometown: Bellevue, Kentucky
Education: Attended the University of Kentucky.
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.
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